Southwest Airlines is launching flights to four Mexican cities and Belize next year as part of a broader strategy aimed at expanding its footprint south of the US border.
The airliner said that it plans to fly to four destinations in Mexico — Mexico City, Cancun, Puerto Vallarta and Los Cabos — and to Costa Rica’s capital San Jose from a new international concourse being built at a cost of $156 million in Houston’s Hobby Airport.
In October next year, the airliner would add routes to Belize. “Adding Belize to the Southwest network and growing our Costa Rica service continues our expansion to international destinations where our People and consumer-friendly policies can deliver as no other airline can,” said Gary Kelly, Southwest Airlines Chairman, President, and CEO.
United Airlines, a local competitor for Southwest, runs flights to all those locations from Houston. According to Associated Press, Spirit Airlines is likely to launch service to several of the same routes in May.
“Service to Mexico will be the cornerstone of our international operation at Hobby and the four cities we are announcing today provide exciting travel and business options for consumers,” Kelly added.
Service to Philip S. W. Goldson International Airport in Belize City, Belize, adds a second destination in Central America after it launched daily flights to Costa Rica earlier in March.
Southwest said it has applied to federal authorities seeking permission for adding new LATAM routes.
The U.S. carrier runs several flights to other Latin American countries, including Puerto Rico. In November last year, it launched flights to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic from its hub in Chicago.
Southwest began launching flights to international destinations as it is phasing out AirTran Airways, which it purchased in 2010. But Costa Rica was not even served by AirTran.